Holiday stress is the term used to refer to a series of negative sensations that can overwhelm us with the proximity of the end-of-year festivities.
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, we are exposed to a series of new situations and responsibilities: organizing family gatherings, cooking dozens of meals, cleaning everything before and after, etc. Faced with these tasks, feeling anxious, stressed, and even a little sad is common.
But one of the most challenging aspects of the holidays is organizing the gift shopping list and trying not to forget anyone. This is one of the biggest reasons for holiday stress ever, especially when you leave it to the last minute and have to face crowded stores and empty shelves.
The best way to avoid the stress of Christmas shopping is to stay organized and manage your time. But if you face the same rush every year, check out this guide to avoiding holiday stress while shopping.
Hold Off Holiday Stress
Throughout November and December, millions of people will be shopping, and part of them will be in the same stores where you intend to go. Online shopping is the best way to avoid crowds and make the most of your time. After all, the Internet has revolutionized the way we shop.
To save time and raise your chances of getting a good deal, plan ahead and make a list, then sort that list into items you’ll be purchasing in-store and those that will likely be discounted if bought through websites. Popular items that are usually on sale during the holiday season and best ordered are electronics, furniture, beauty products, bulk goods like tupperware or cooking sets, and even the most hard to find and in-demand styles of glasses online.
Remember that like anything else, there are risks to shopping online and it’s always best to follow some simple safety rules. Keep the tips below in mind for a stress-free shopping online.
- Set a budget and actually stick to it.
- The Internet offers easy ways of price comparisons, so don’t buy from the first site you visit.
- Make sure the online stores you’re visiting are legitimate and secure.
- Always be suspicious of very attractive promotions and discounts.
- Try to limit shopping as much as possible, buying only the essentials and avoiding superfluous things.
- Avoid buying last-minute gifts that are likely to be low quality or overpriced.
- Never use public Wi-Fi for shopping activity, especially for logging in to your bank or financial apps.
- Before finalizing a purchase, read reviews from other customers about the product you intend to purchase and about the store (if it usually delivers orders on time, returns policies, etc).
- Clear your browsing history after shopping so snooping kids or other family members don’t find out what you’ve been buying.
Choose Peace and Sanity
In addition to the holiday stress related to Christmas shopping, another sad side effect of this time of year is the so-called holiday blues.
It’s that seasonal anxiety or sadness that usually accompanies the months of November and December – when some people start to reflect negatively on their lives or realize that their finances are not enough for all the gifts.
Holiday blues can manifest in different ways, such as feelings of guilt, tiredness, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and an irritable mood. If you’re feeling that way, let’s take a look at a few self-care tips to make the most of the festivities:
- Avoid too much traffic and crowded shopping areas as much as possible.
- If you can’t gather all your family and friends, have a simpler party with just the closest people.
- Don’t isolate yourself, and don’t hesitate to call someone if you feel very angry or depressed.
- Learn to say “No” whenever you feel pressured – for example, when the kids choose some overpriced gift.
- Take advantage of the holidays to let go of the non-essential by donating unused clothes and toys to charity.
- Drink moderately, as excess alcohol tends to worsen feelings of sadness and anxiety.
- When feeling sad or worthless, volunteer at a homeless shelter or on a charity campaign.
- Exchange material goods for experiences, such as trips or visits to museums and amusement parks.
Last but not least, remember the true meaning of the holiday season. It is not about Santa Claus or spending your last penny on gifts, but about spending more time with the people you love. Even if you are not religious, take advantage of Christmas time to be with those who matter, making peace with someone.
Less Materialism, More Happiness
There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the holidays to throw a big party for the whole family and distribute lots of gifts. Things start to get complicated when, by doing this, you feel more stressed, anxious, and tired than you should.
Remember that Christmas is not just about consumerism and materialism. You can avoid stress simply by putting some things aside to prioritize what you love. That is, if the most important thing for you is to be with family and friends, forget big dinners and expensive gifts and live the experience of the moment.